OZ comes to the rescue of the ratatouille vegetables thanks to the new “LEAPING OVER GROWING BEDS” feature
Since it was first designed in 2013, Oz, the mechanical weeding robot, has continually improved to offer features that are always in line with the field requirements. Our clients from the market gardening sector have in common that they all grow very diverse crops… but each with their own diversity. This diversity implies new technical itineraries for Oz and specific guidance features. Now that it is able to leap over the growing beds, Oz can now attack weeds in the ratatouille vegetables!
2016-2019: a look back at the different versions of Oz
In order to understand how we got to the 2019 “leaping over beds” version of Oz, it is necessary to provide an overview of its evolutions over time.
Let’s take a look back to the 2016 version of Oz. At that time, we managed to make the robot perform a simple U-turn, thanks to the programming of the distance required between two rows. The main benefit of this feature was the great flexibility it provided, but it was not reliable enough …
In 2018, we introduced a stabilized version of Oz’s software, but then, the distance of the U-turns was not flexible enough anymore…
The 2019 version is therefore a milestone for the robot’s U-turns which now combine flexibility and reliability: Oz can leap over beds thanks to wider U-turns and a further improved guidance developed by an R&D team who works always close to the specific needs of the field.
The technicality of this new version is easy to understand: Oz performs U-turns through new configured data (width of the rows and of the growing bed that Oz needs to leap over), which allows it to steadily circumvent an area. Thanks to the red stakes planted on each side of the bed, Oz only has to “leap” over a red stake to make a U-turn with the next bed.
There are three new possible ways to configure the growing beds:
- High beds, over 12/15 cm tall (whether cultivated or not) : Oz is guided directly to the bed,
- Low bed with several rows reaching an overall height of 12/15 cm minimum : guidance is effected on the crops
- Low bed with the crop in the middle (our famous “ratatouille” vegetables: tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini…): guidance is on the crop.
Summer vegetables: weeds had better watch out!
As we know, our market gardeners grow many of the vegetables in beds. For some of them, it is even the only way to grow carrots, lettuce, onions, leeks and all the “ratatouille” vegetables! Oz can now fill the needs of these farmers.
The new skill of Oz “leaping over beds” offers new weeding prospects to our clients.
First of all, the mechanical weeding can be achieved on the walking space with coulters or five-tine tools.
But then, Oz can also weed the sides of the beds, and it represents a considerable challenge because the plastic mulching tarps are often damaged by weeds.
Offset tools such as the harrow or brushes can easily turn and smother weeds.
Released in April 2019, the new stable version of Oz already equips 100% of our clients, among them Bastien Puech – La Ferme d’Agen, who shares his experience with us